Editor’s Note: This is part one in a two-part series on the Bond Schoolhouse incident.
YADKINVILLE — The public met at Deep Creek Friends Meeting on Sunday, along with members of the congregation and family descendants, to discuss the events of an 1863 school shootout that culminated in the loss of four local men’s lives while several lay wounded after they clashed while upholding opposite beliefs inside the Yadkin community in the midst of the Civil War.
Today, a plowed field is the scene of the location where the “Bond School House Incident” took place and is visible through the downstairs of the small window of the Deep Creek Friends Meeting place.
Its location is where the former school building stood, and persists with a reminder of the realities of sowing and reaping combined with the grace of a local people through it all. It demands the cultivation of past and present with hard work a necessity of plowing forward when confronted with difficult truths and/or speculations in the field of love and war.
Deep Creek Friends Meeting member of 74 years, Wiley Shore, said there once was a time, when the community was silent about the incident. He said his father, Luther Shore, and others would not speak about it in their day.
“There is more talk about it in the last five years than there has been in 100 years,” said Shore.
Wiley’s wife and Deep Creek Friends newsletter composer, Shelby Shore, said though it is hard to know a battle took place “here,” she said “it is history” and “reconciling in a peaceful way” remains important.
Exactly, 151 years ago on the snowy day of Feb. 12, 1863, 16 men were gathered inside the Bond Schoolhouse including Jesse and William Dobbins, James Wooten and other deeply religious Quakers when they were confronted by Confederate Capt. James West and militia men in a “surprise” visit.
The end result now appears strange ending in an almost “eye-for-an-eye” and “tooth-for-a-tooth” scenario. The final equation rested with two men’s lives lost on each side each from different areas of the community, with strong opinions.
The names of the dead were disclosed on Sunday as being Capt. James Pierce West (Hamptonville) and John McIntosh Williams (Yadkinville), both of the militia; and Solomon Hinshaw (North Deep Creek) and Alexander “Eck” Allgood (South Deep Creek), who were labeled as “resisters” or “deserters.”
Wiley Shore said he believed some in the building were not deserters as has come to be known but instead men who truly wanted to avoid shooting their relatives or friends in the familiar “family against family” backdrop of the Civil War. Several were in agreement with Shore.
Also, it is worth noting perhaps the most single bloodiest battle day in American history and one of the turning points of the war had taken place just a little more than four months before with 22,717 dead, wounded or missing at the infamous Civil War battle, Antietam.
A historical marker entitled, “Bond Schoolhouse — Shootout in the Snow” located just outside the Deep Creek Friends Meeting also details a version of the event. As Capt. West stood on the “big rock doorstep” with the militia, he confronted Jesse and William Dobbins (the latter listed a fugitive) and others, “who opposed slavery and fighting based on religious and anti-slavery beliefs,” and those who who sought to avoid conscription in the Confederate Army, a shot to the head of Capt. West fatally wounded him as he ordered everyone out.
The deaths still visually affected local families and descendants of the incident as the families raised questions on Sunday at the Friends Meeting asking from “both sides of the aisle.”
Some asked, matter-of-fact, just who all was involved? Others brought family photos sharing a part of them for onlookers and modern day historians. Historian Anna Shelton Black recounted some birth consistencies and discrepancies and read witness accounts of published family letters.
It was the second meeting of its kind held in two years, said Yadkin County Historical Society President Andrew Mackie.
“It is important because four people died and the lives of everyone was affected for generations to come,” Mackie said.
As testimony and evidence is uncovered, remembering “it is what it is” is important, concluded Mackie.
Tanya Chilton may be reached at 336-835-1513 or on Twitter @TanyaTDC.